The benefits of using remote work are categorically favorable to small businesses. We are talking about significant cost reduction and higher productivity. Also, remote workers are more easygoing because they feel familiar with their workspace. But when you have teams that transcend countries or even continents, a lot of sensitive data is at risk. This data can even exist across many devices, with some of them vulnerable to attacks.
As a company, you must understand the challenges of having a remote workforce. If you don’t, a leak of confidential data in your company may end up sinking it. If that happens, what’s the point of having excellent workers without geographic limitations?.
Having remote workers requires you to pay close attention to the technology they use. Currently, even companies with multi-million dollar budgets are having trouble managing remote workforces. This means the challenge is greater for small and medium-sized companies; those that work with limited budgets and have lower risks of vulnerabilities.
Remote work statistics
According to a report by the International Workplace Group, 50% of the world’s employees now work outside their companies headquarters. Furthermore, 80% of them indicated that they would reject job offers if they do not allow remote work. Another 75% believe that flexible work will be the new norm for jobs after the COVID contingency.
OpenVPN, reported that 90% of IT professionals believe remote work is currently unsafe. 70% of those surveyed think remote personnel represents a risk for companies. This means experts recognize the risks of remote work; and that is the first step towards fixing the problem.
Now, let’s take a look at the most pressing data security challenges today; those for which small businesses must prepare in this contingency.
Access to confidential data through unprotected Wi-Fi networks
According to a CSO Online study, 83% of phishing attacks in 2019 took place outside of emails. Specifically in platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, and some mobile games and services. If your employees connect to an unsecured network for remote work, malicious actors can spy on them. Hackers could infect their devices and thus your data to get confidential information.
A cybercriminal could intercept and steal data sent unencrypted in plain text. Because of this, your employees should not access any unknown Wi-Fi networks. Furthermore, even if they are using a VPN connection, safety is not 100% guaranteed.
Personal devices are not safe for remote work
A survey by Cisco showed that 46% of employees admitted doing data transfer between personal devices. A worrying practice considering business computers have better security methods than personal ones. Another problematic trend is allowing BYOD for remote workers.
Personal devices used for remote work have before been used to access corporate data. As an entrepreneur, you should be aware of the problems related to these practices. If someone left your company, they could keep sensitive data stored on their device. Now imagine the possibility that they do not keep their security software updated. All these are openings available to cybercriminals to exploit.
The general advice is to not allow your employees to use their personal devices for work. Because of how difficult it is to control how they protect themselves.
Building a safe remote workspace
How can you protect your company’s private data if you cannot control the devices used? The first step is to create a security policy focused on remote workers. Many companies are already implementing some strategies. From here on, we will present you with the essential keys to building a safe remote workspace.
Define who should work remotely. No one knows which job functions this way and which cannot than you. Unfortunately, not all your employees apply to remote work. Assess the security risks that would come with each employee connecting from home. This way you will have a clearer vision of the range of your protection.
Pick which tools and platforms to use remotely. All your employees should know which tools are safe and approved to use. From cloud storage platforms or communication tools to project management tools; you must review everything before allowing its use in this contingency.
Make a guide for your employees on what to do in case of attacks. If your employees believe the company’s info is at risk, they should know how to react. To whom should they report? Who dictates the instructions for changing passwords or accesses? Include these steps in your guide for remote work along with how to strengthen security.
The best tool to protect your employees and their teams
There are no safer tools in this contingency than Privileged Access Management (PAM). This software uses smart scans to identify, analyze and take action against vulnerabilities. Currently, these systems have high industry standards; as well as strong legal regulations and various security protocols. This allows you to make better decisions, end troublesome processes and improve workflows.
When it comes to managing the privileges of your company’s systems, we recommend BeyondTrust Privileged Access Management. This software includes a package of resources specialized in improving security practices for your employees. It also offers a custom interface and enables CRM software integration.
If you want more information about this tool or remote work, contact us. At GB Advisors we offer the best solutions on the market, and we put at your disposal a team of professionals readies to advise you and accompany you on your way to a more efficient IT environment.